A team of European space enthusiasts have performed an unprecedented test. They
flew a mobile phone into the stratosphere to test how high a mobile connection and
mobile internet can reach. The results were unexpected – the team was able to confirm
network coverage at a record altitude of 85,000 feet, in the air. The flying phone was
even able to send its location to Google’s Find My Phone service, using 4G data.
The experiment was conducted during the summer of 2019 in collaboration with the
leading Latvian mobile operator – Latvian Mobile Telephone – who equipped one of their
communication base stations with upward-oriented mobile communications antennas.
Mr. Pauls Irbins, head of the ZINOO test team, claims that this is a world record for
“highest altitude of tested terrestrial 4G internet”. [YouTube video about the Test: https://
With this test, Latvian Mobile Telephone (LMT) aims to adapt existing ground
communications infrastructure for non-terrestrial applications in the very near future.
LMT and ZINOO are currently conducting a study in order to determine the feasibility of
launching an experimental 4G-enabled LEO (Low Earth orbit) satellite into orbit. The
satellite would use existing, terrestrial, 4G infrastructure, which would be provided
through upward-pointing antennas.
Until now, retrieving data that is collected from satellites has been complicated and costinducing. The ability to provide nano and cube satellite projects with data delivered via an
internet connection would ensure an easier, more cost-efective access to information,
which in turn would further empower small-scale satellite projects.
Source:Silvia Antolino, Science centre ZINOO